Travis 12 Memories
Grade
A-
 
Also Try
Radiohead
Coldplay

Nowadays, most alternative bands from the UK are quickly labeled by critics as ĎRadiohead wannabesí for inevitable similarities which emerges from time to time (a lead singer with talents for both guitar and keyboards; synthesizers ; trance-like dancing while performing etc.). In a way it's true, but certain bands manage to retain their own sense of originality, and Travis did just that with 12 Memories. After a string of hits off their previous work The Invisible Band, Travis finally released their new album which swept through the UK charts in recent weeks. It wasnít a disappointment.

Although I look at this as more of a restitution towards their other record, The Man Who, this album presents the poetically talented Francis Healy who prefers a slow but deliberate sentimental sense, as most of the songs off this album would prove. With well-thought lyrics and creative use of instruments, 12 Memories is a step forward for a band bound to succeed even further.

For most part of it, all the songs on 12 Memories are well-conceived and enjoyable. Songs such as Quicksand, Somewhere Else and How Many Hearts concentrates more toward memorable chorus lines and keyboard-driven tunes, while The Beautiful Occupation is pure Travis material, truly one of the best songs Iíve listened to in a while. Re-Offender (which is the first single off this album ), Mid-Life Krysis, Happy To Hang Around and Love Will Come Through are delivered in a strong mixture of wonderful lyrics, guitars and Healyís sweet vocals. Peace The F*** Out, however, features a more lighthearted sense to it. Then thereís Paperclips, a painfully slow but melodious song, contains an almost nonexistent tune and relies heavily toward the lyrics itself, but itís a fine song nevertheless. And the final song, Walking Down The Hill, is truly something out of the ordinary, and concludes a fitting end to such a memorable album. A fine mix, donít you agree?

After all that, yes, this album is not perfect. The influence of other bandís works are irrevocably apparent. For example, the short guitar sequence on The Beautiful Occupation totally screams Radiohead, while in Happy To Hang Around, the drums sound almost exactly like that in Coldplayís song In My Place. And then thereís the strange feeling that theyíre trying too hard to manage the balance in between songs, especially when simpler tunes wouldíve sounded just as good. And to complete my whining, half the songs in this album are too short and feel incomplete.

Even with these points, 12 Memories remains a very good album. Itís a euphony of lyrical goodness, excellent tunes memorable songs. Travis fans will be more than happy after listening to it. Itís a definite improvement towards their previous albums, and chances are they will become even better. Itís good.

- - FREEQZ

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